by Mike Masnick

Office Creepers Stealing Laptops

from the can't-get-away-from-them dept

When I worked at Intel, they had very strict security, such that everyone leaving the building was searched. If you had a laptop, you needed a reason to have it leave the building. It was also not recommended that you bring your own laptop into the building because it was difficult to ever get it back out. Not many companies are so strict. Laptops are valuable and in a world of cubicles where there's no protection, they tend to go missing. Apparently, many laptop thieves are becoming "office creepers". They figure out a way to sneak into an office building, looking just like any other employee. Sometimes they hide away. Sometimes they pretend to work there. At the end of the day, though, they pick up random laptops after everyone has left for the evening and stroll out the door.

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  • identicon
    Director Mitch, 1 Dec 2003 @ 8:25am

    Sometimes it's an insider

    About 10 years ago when I was working at a major tech company there was a rash of stolen laptops. A little sleuthing by security revealed it was a fairly well compensated test engineer. He blew up his career at this company (and might have damaged it permanently) by walking off with a few thousand dollars worth of notebook computers (whether he was using them himself or reselling the, I never found out)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Oliver Wendell Jones, 1 Dec 2003 @ 8:33am

    It happened here.

    Where I work, we have our main campus with all the 'high security' buildings and then numerous off-campus locations. One of those locations located less than 1/2 mile off campus was the site of a huge security faux pas.

    The back door to the building (which couldn't be opened from the outside) was held open with a wooden block so that the smokers could slip in and out. A guy dressed as a package deliver person showed up with a large box and walked in that back door. He did this at lunch time while most people were at lunch and then went cubicle to cubicle loading up laptops and whatever else he wanted until his box was full.

    He then walked out the front door of the building, and the receptionist even held the door open for him.

    To make matters worse, the PCs were all development PCs that were purchased by the project and didn't go through the standard purchasing procedure so there were no official corporate records of the PCs and they didn't have corporate asset tags attached. When the building manager called corporate security to report the theft of tens of thousands of dollars in equipment, they were powerless to help because as far as they were concerned it wasn't really company property.

    The company not only lost the 15+ laptops, but all the development work that was on those PCs but not anywhere else (they weren't official company PCs so they couldn't connect to company the network).

    The company's solution to that problem? They removed the wooden block and added a card-key scanner at the back door so smokers can get back in.

    The company eventually had a 're-organization' which means they laid off a bunch of unnecessary employees (and for once they actually got it right and only cut the people who really needed to be cut) and brought all the engineers and software developers back into the secure R&D environment on campus.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Oliver Wendell Jones, 1 Dec 2003 @ 8:37am

    Another funny story

    Years back when I was in the army, I worked at a computer store close to base, and most of my coworkers were in the military as well.

    One of the guys worked at the Naval Research Labs in D.C. and a friend of his asked him to pick up a game for him using his employee discount and to bring it to work.

    The game was (as I recall) Project Haley and was a space travel/trivia game. Ordinarily, this would not be a problem, but the manual was made to look like an official NASA document and every page had "TOP SECRET" printed on it for 'realism'.

    Needless to say, it's very difficult to remove documents from a high security military research laboratory, especially those that are marked "TOP SECRET".

    Last I heard, the guy was smuggling it out a page at a time in his underwear...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pat Stakem, 1 Dec 2003 @ 1:55pm

    laptop theft at office.

    That just happened at our office, in
    the morning.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2003 @ 4:23pm

    I think its mostly the employees...

    At most places I've worked at, random strangers
    wandering around the cubes tend to get noticed fairly quickly. So I doubt that "creepers" are as common as depicted. But I do suspect that the employees coworkers are walking off with most of the stuff. Most people can't (or won't) believe that someone they know or work with would rip them off like that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    clara, 21 Jun 2004 @ 3:24am

    Theft again and I have to pay!

    I am a Canadian working in China and I would imagine management at the biggest software company would deal with on-site theft a little better....just so happens that my team laptop was stolen from my desk over one weekend a few months back and now finance wants me to compensate for it. I sit in an open cubicle with 24 x 7 security....just when you think it's okay to leave your laptop behind....well, I don't think the people in this company think they have security issues...instead, they are forcing me to pay by deducting part of my salary. The battle goes on....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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